FLOAT ON

Artist: Modest Mouse

Genre: Rock/Alternative

Notable lyrics: 

I backed my car into a cop car the other day
Well, he just drove off – sometimes life’s okay
I ran my mouth off a bit too much, ah what did I say?
Well, you just laughed it off and it was all okay
And we’ll all float on okay
And we’ll all float on anyway, well
A fake Jamaican took every last dime with that scam
It was worth it just to learn some sleight of hand
Bad news comes, don’t you worry even when it lands
Good news will work it way to all them plans
We both got fired on, exactly, the same day
Well, we’ll float on, good news is on the way
And we’ll all float on okay
And we’ll all float on alright
Already we’ll all float on
Now don’t you worry we’ll all float on alright
Already we’ll all float on alright
Don’t worry we’ll all float on
Alright, Already
And we’ll all float on alright
Already we’ll all float on alright
Don’t worry even if things end up a bit
Too heavy we’ll all float on alright

If the going gets tough, this song will have your back. It’s the therapy you never knew you needed.

Modest Mouse is an American rock band formed in 1992 in Issaquah, Washington. The popular members, among the 15 who have come and gone, include Isaac Brock (lead singer and guitarist) , Jeremiah Green (Drummer), Eric Judy (bassist), and the fabulous Mr. Johnny Marr (guitars). If Johnny’s in a band, you know it’s a great one.                          Modest Mouse is one of the most popular indie bands (oh, the irony) you’ll hear one speaking about. Among Alt-J, Mgmnt, Arcade Fire, and The Shins, Modest Mouse has established itself as an indie mogul. With 12 albums out, each album having a weirder name than the previous one, ‘Float On’ appears on their 9th album, ‘Good News For People Who Love Bad News’ released in 2004. Emerging as one of the most famous indie songs in existence, ‘Float On’ has won a Grammy for the best rock song in 2005.

In an interview with The A.V. Club, lead singer Isaac Brock discussed the song’s positivity, a turn from the band’s earlier, more dour material.

I was just kind of fed up with how bad shit had been going, and how dark everything was, with bad news coming from everywhere. Our president [George W. Bush] is just a fucking daily dose of bad news! Then you’ve got the well-intentioned scientists telling us that everything is fucked.

I just want to feel good for a day. I’d had some friends die, and with Jeremy kind of losing it… After we got out of that dark spot with everything melting down with the band, I just wanted to make a positive record. I think we managed to make a quarter of the record positive, and the rest is either kind of dark or more just relaxing into things being how they are, resigned

The song talks about how having a shitty day, or a week, or a month, or a year, isn’t too bad, as that too, shall pass. For the first time, a song about Optimism hs been created that’s not entirely out of everyone’s level of comprehension. It’s brilliant in a way that it’s literally helped thousands deal with bad times, which is what music in itself must do. The simplistic and relatable makes it all the more comforting.                                                          There’s absolutely no impediment in the way of the efficient usage of drums, and the characteristic indie guitar tune which was originally introduced by the underground bands of the 80’s, and is still put into use. The occasional guitar strums and the Windows XP noise is a bit annoying, and that’s that. As a whole, the song is very catchy and spirit-lifting, with an inherent sense of enthusiasm expressed well enough.

The music video is also rather artistic, with the band members being represented as paper puppets putting on a show in front of a barn. According to Songfacts, ‘The video takes place by a sheep slaughterhouse. As the sheep get rounded and get taken to the slaughterhouse they become scared. The song seems to be reassuring the sheep that it’s OK and that even if they die, they’ll “All float on.”‘ Pretty self-explanatory.

Needless to say, this song is one of the very few songs I almost never skip when found on a shuffle. Never fails to lift my mood, and remind me that ahead of shitty days lie the ones with rainbows and butterflies everywhere. In the end, it’ll all be worth it.

나랑 아니면 (Who Do You Love)

Artist: The Black Skirts

Genre: Korean indie music

Lyrics: 

야 나랑 놀자 밤늦게까지 함께 손뼉 치면서
나랑 마셔 너와 나의 몸이 녹아 내리면
나랑 걷자 저 멀리까지가다 지쳐 누우면
나랑 자자 두 눈 꼭 감고 나랑 입 맞추자

나랑 아니면 누구랑 사랑 할 수 있겠니
나랑 아니면 어디에 자랑 할 수 있겠니
나랑 아니면

야 나랑 놀자 어디 가지 말고
그리울 틈 없도록
나랑 살자 아주 오랫동안
우리 같이 살자

나랑 아니면 누구랑 사랑 할 수 있겠니
나랑 아니면 어디에 자랑 할 수 있겠니
나랑 아니면

아무렇지 않게 넌 내게 말했지
날 위해 죽을 수도, 죽일 수도 있다고
알아, 나도 언제나 같은 마음이야 baby
아마도 우린 오래 아주 오래 함께할 거야

Translation: 

Hey, hang out with me till late at night
Come drink with me
Once you and I get drunk
So when we feel tipsy, let’s walk
Once you and I get tired
So when we lie down, Let’s sleep
Close your eyes and let’s kiss

Without me, who can you love with?
Without me, where can you tell?
Without me

Hey, let’s hang out with me
Don’t go without me
So we don’t miss each other
Let’s live with me for a long time
Let’s live together

Without me, who will you love?
Without me, where will you go?
Without me

You told me lightly
You can die or kill for me
I know, I can do the same thing, baby
Maybe we’ll be together forever

Korean pop or K-pop, has gained a lot of popularity since 2015, but that’s just the company-grown bands. While South Korea relies heavily on its entertainment industry for generating income, it has a very conventional way of grooming its artists, usually to fit the rest of the world’s opinion of South Korea. As a result of this, Korean artists don’t have the provisions or space to experiment. Highly influenced by western music, K-pop is just a mainstream replica of the same kind, except with a few Korean lyrics, ostentatious costumes, tacky music videos, and frisky dance moves. Very few Korean indie artists have made it into the scene, while the rest of them hope to be scouted by popular entertainment agencies.

‘The Black Skirts’ is a one-man band consisting of Jo Hyu-il or Brian Cho, who is a singer/songwriter/guitarist/bassist/keyboardist. Hyu-il  was born in Seoul, South Korea on December 5, 1982, and later moved to the United States when he was 12 years old, where he grew up in New Jersey. Heavily influenced by American music, Hyu-il recorded his first album in 2009, in his basement, and won a Korean Music Award. ‘Who do you love’ is a romantic ballad released in 2017, as a part of his 3rd studio album ‘Team Baby’.

Revolving around a problematic couple, the song has managed to beautifully fit into their lives, moulding into the story like they were meant to co-exist. The actress is a Korean party host, while the actor is a janitor working in the same karaoke joint. The music video slowly transitions from their everyday life, to the incident that broke the girl: robbing a man, and killing another in the attempt to run away unnoticed. Dramatic and tragic, the song captures the essence of being in love, and doing almost anything to prevent separation. Nothing has been sugar-coated here, unlike the typical Korean music videos. Brian Cho is also known for capturing emotions crudely, which makes his works seem more mature in comparison to the popular songs. The melodramatic tune of a violin progresses into the livelier part, with the drums in the background, the keyboard in the middle ground, and the fragile voice in the fore ground. Akin to an orchestral hit, the song has used a wide range of instruments, including the electric guitar during the bridge. With his roots buried deep into indie rock, Brian has managed to incorporate some rock music into the song, without making it seem out-of-place. The lyrics are minimalistic, but is compensated for by the composition of the song.

Artists like The Black Skirts are important to ensure Korean music doesn’t lose it authenticity by giving in to the conventional methods of making popular music. With the emergence of independent artists, Korean music will cater to the needs of different sub-cultures, thereby making it all the more popular. Several artists go unnoticed while the big bands earn millions by the minute. Digging into SoundCloud or YouTube will expose several independent artists, and this is necessary because experimentation is the key to revolution, at least artistically speaking.

D-D-DANCE

Artist: The Royal Concept

Genre: Indie pop

Notable Lyrics:

In a room with both of your rivals
You would always turn it around
Once you go, once you get started
Always had that look in your eyes
You would always reach without trying
I didn’t spend this time to fall out
Watch me take my chances on the weekends
You could always read me by heart

Always on the go, keep your head up now
Na na not quite that high
D-d-dance dance dance till you get it right
Always on the go, keep your head up now

Wrong decisions are inevitable. Every one often takes wrong decisions, only to realize how foolish they’ve been. ‘D-D-Dance’ is a happy-go-lucky song speaking about the same. The singer pleads to his girlfriend to not doubt their awry relationship, even after how skeptical she’s always been about dating someone his kind. In reality, you never almost date people your type, so she has no idea what the hell she’s on about.

The Royal Concept is a Swedish Indie Rock band formed in Stockholm in 2010. It currently consists of lead vocalist and guitarist David Larson, guitarist Filip Bekic, bassist Magnus Robert, and drummer Povel Olsson. They all look like a sophisticated bunch of Rock stars, with the characteristic long hair and the hipster appeal. Their songs mostly range from punk-rock to Indie-rock. The band also has its distinct sound which is easily identifiable, especially with the, um, very quirky voice behind all the songs. If I’m being just, it actually only accentuates the entire scheme of indie music. You can’t possibly go wrong while making independent music, since the point is ambiguity and experimentation.

The smart drum beats, the pitch-y electric guitars, and the excellent use of the cymbals, the most underrated parts of a jazz drum set, makes the music very hard to comprehend, which means you’re doing well. You don’t want your music to be an open book with no substance; the heavier and more complex the music, the more  professional you seem to be. The lyrics contradict the mood of the song, which is a trick people often use to produce super hits. Beside the usual drama. the song has a very unique configuration, with the snazzy drum bit playing a very important to miss. Without the use of Electronic music, the song replicates an original EDM song, which is saying something. It’s really hard to get over this song in less than a few weeks. Play it early in the morning for a more melodramatic effort. If there’s a playlist named ‘songs for a foggy day’, this one’s perfect for it.

CHAMELEON LOVER

 

Artist: KOATES

Genre: indie

Notable lyrics: 

you’re gray in rain, and green in sun

chameleon lover, what have you done?

don’t change for me, I wanna see

the colors you were made to be

I’ll hold you close, won’t let you go

and tell you everything I know

I’ll sing to you, and somewhere I didn’t know..

I can explain the irregularity in my posting: I had my internals, and the laptop wasn’t working. I was too stupid to find out that the problem was the lack of charge..

KOATES aren’t a popular band to begin with, not in the indie part of the YouTube, or on SoundCloud, but they’ve gotta be one of the best start-up bands in existence. I came across them on Instagram, listened to their 2 singles uploaded on YouTube, and wrote them a message exclaiming how marvelous their music was. Guess what? they wrote back thanking me! Now, they’ve signed a Spotify deal, but these two songs will remain as their best work.

KOATES are supposedly a band of friends from England. There’s so few things I know about this band, and it’s all from their Instagram; sometimes, I think social media’s a blessing. I know a good band when I listen to one, and I see so much potential here. The music is well-made, the lyrics are simple and sweet, and the vocals are quaint. They make wonderful music with only one or two instruments of usually the same kind.

‘Change is inevitable, but also acceptable’. ‘Chameleon lover’ is a beautiful and heart-felt, handwritten tune about asking your lover to not change for you because they’re ever-so perfect. the lyricist talks about exploring the various shades of their personality, while falling completely in love with them. He wants to tell them everything he knows, because he can and wants to. Everything about this song is so charming – the simple guitar, the beautiful vocals, the endearing lyrics, and whatnot! If a live performance sounds so delightful, you can only imagine the quality of an original studio recording. I’ve got nothing more to say, for the song speaks for itself. All I can hope for is they climb the stairway to success in a short-time, because they deserve it.

PICTURE FRAMES

Artist: Rei Brown

Genre: Indie

Notable lyrics: 

Love, I don’t know what makes you move
I don’t know what makes you move in these photographs
Love, I stare at these polaroids
I stare at these polaroids and you’re staring back

Deep sleep aviations, in conversations with constellations
Midnight trepidations, the detonations of self-deprecation

Ooo I don’t need you anymore
Ooo I don’t need you anymore

But love, when I close my eyes
I’m lying next to you
And I don’t want memories
To fade like pictures do
In these picture frames

Love, I don’t know what makes you laugh
I don’t know what makes you laugh in these sepia tones
Love, I can’t help but make believe
I can’t help but make believe that you’re coming home

White noise meditation, the hesitation to change the station
Radio resuscitation, suffocation in contemplation

Ooo I don’t need you anymore.

Do you ever get slight tremors in your body after listening to an insanely good song? I do, and this song fits in the ‘body-quake’ category, because of how overwhelmingly wonderful it is.

Rei Brown, formerly known as Raybaboon, keeps a very low-profile; his whereabouts are quite unknown and he’s an indie artist on Soundcloud. Who knew Soundcloud had so many wonderful artists?

An amazing song must be able to transcend tangible boundaries and help you float through the realms of virtual heaven; at least that’s what an amazing song is to me. If it has the ability to help you lose yourself, you’re on the right track with your music. Don’t let anybody tell you any different, be what may the genre. This is inconsistent with my previous rigid beliefs, but I’ve matured a lot since then.

This song is an intricate work of an artist who knows what he’s doing. To transcribe this song would be hard, since its got so many complex layers and such. According to what I could make out, no actual instruments have been used, save for a single guitar strum. However, it all worked out for the best, since the song has resulted into something very miraculous. The lyrics are so beautiful, the meaning behind it being more beautiful. The artist talks about how he still remembers his lover when looking at their pictures, and how he so dearly misses them. It’s simple, crystal-clear but efficient, sitting right in with the whole idea of the song. The voice complements the song very will; it’s a little drowsy and docile but absolutely gorgeous. I haven’t feel the absence of a stranger’s dreamy voice until I heard this one.The video is an animated footage of a train moving through a monochromatic scene, with the snow falling in the background; simple but consistent.

Everything about the song is so pure and innocent, with the calming sound of a type-writer and a pager(?) in the background. Listening to this song sometimes makes everything better for 3 minutes. I just hope there’s an endless stream of talented artists putting out such beautiful songs everyday.

 

NEW SLANG

Artist: The Shins

Genre: Indie

Notable lyrics:

And if you’d took to me like a
Gull takes to the wind
Well, I’d a-jumped from my trees
And I’d a-danced like the kind of the eyesores
And the rest of our lives would have fared well

I’m looking in on the good life I might be doomed never to find
Without a trust or flaming fields am I too dumb to refine?
And if you’d ‘a took to me like, well
I’d a-danced like the queen of the eyesores
And the rest of our lives would have fared well

According to popular belief (ironically), if you claim to be a fan of Independent music but don’t associate with The Shins’ music, you’re not a fan of independent music. If you ever happen to come across an idiot who gives you this piece of advice, tell him that the beauty of indie music or any music, for that matter, is to be free from all the constraints already imposed, and that nobody can dictate your music taste for you. ( I might seem like a hypocrite because of my previous accusations against popular music, but I still stand by it because the facts are right.)

The Shins are an indie rock band formed in New Mexico, in 1996. Their twisted, complicated lyrics are what sets them apart from normal indie rock bands, essentially making them a somewhat proper indie band. If anything, The Shins started the fad of writing cryptic lyrics and using finely aged tunes.

The tune is sullen and smooth, free from any figurative bumps. In a way, it is almost nostalgic, even when you’re only listening to it for the first time. The back-up vocals and the muted guitar tune is so wonderfully attributed here that it manages to stand-out, all the while being in the background. Also, the song very intelligently uses layered vocals. Factually, most of the band’s songs have a similar and a distinct theme of making music. The music video is an intimate, less edited recording of the band members having fun while being their weird selves (what more can you expect from an indie band hehe). There are several shots with the lead-singer wearing headphones. The video could either be an effortless, home-made project or a puzzle. Seemingly, the song speaks about jumping out of one’s comfort-zone as a sacrifice made to a loved one and the video embodies it accurately, since the band members are also doing the same. Also, there are several sepia, black & white, and blue-black shots, amidst the colored ones. The change of colors talks about the inconsistencies in the singer’s life, and how everything isn’t as clear as a day.

When deciphered, the lyrics turn into something beautiful. Genius lyrics genius-ly decodes the entire song, but the here’s the gist of it: the singer tells us that he hasn’t been the most outgoing, sane, or socially comfortable person, but would’ve gone out of his way to make himself feel warm and happy. New Slang might actually be the act of developing a whole new mind-set, after much deliberation.

The Shins’ front-man James Mercer stated that when he wrote it “he wanted to get out of his hometown, job, relationship, and life,” something one can easily feel when listening, especially if they relate.

Basically, the song is about growing up, fitting in your skin and letting go of your inhibitions because you can. You only grow to become a joyful person when you realize that there’s nothing holding you back but yourself.

 

THE LESS I KNOW THE BETTER

Artist: Tame Impala

Genre: Psychedelic pop

Notable lyrics:

Someone said they live together
I ran out the door to get her
She was holding hands with Trevor
Not the greatest feeling ever
Said pull yourself together
You should try your luck with Heather
And I hope they slept together
Oh the less I know the better
The less I know the better

In a weird, ultra dimensional way, I feel a strong connection to this band since the songs are so akin to the stories of my life.

Tame Impala happen to be one of the most sought-after indie rock bands, right beside the Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, et al. The band is distinctive due to its psychedelic style of making music. Formed in Perth, Australia in 2007, the band has risen to fame in the realms of unconventional music.

The song is highly illusionary, complete with an eccentric music video which is a perfect duo of weird, hallucinogenic music that pieces through your ears and the rest of your senses. Highly creative and artistic, the video fits in perfectly with the rest of their projects. Psychedelic music traces ts origin back to the 70’s, with its cosmopolitan hippies and hallucinogens. Seemingly, the band has drawn influences from several low-lying, homemade music from the 70’s; a slightly inane comparison to Pink Floyd won’t be too unassuming either. Here’s a little fact file about the song:

Anchoring itself thematically from the synth-washing “Gossip”, “The Less I Know the Better” mixes lyrics describing the painful moment of a Bermuda love triangle, with a groovy bass-line and 80’s Napoleon Dynamite’s synths.

Tame Impala lead-singer Kevin Parker said that the song doesn’t belong on the album “because it has this dorky, white disco funk.” However, using “Gossip” as a prelude to this, it is highly needed.

To be fair, it does sound a lot like a disco song, albeit a brilliant one with its funky beats and groovy music. The song is basically about a love triangle, as described, from the perspective of the hopeless romantic that yearns after a girl who no longer or never belonged to him. Essentially, Trevor is the hopeless romantic, the blonde is his object of affection and the gorilla hers. Basically capturing the essence of most normal love stories, the gorilla is a metaphor for the standards constructed by a person when they think their love interest is out of their league. ‘The less I know the better’ is a common phrase used by a person while refraining from gathering information about a crush’s romantic affairs. The song is a clever anecdote about countless relationships that happen to be along the lines of having low-self esteem and considering oneself luckier to have another.

Everything about this song is mesmerizing and dazzling. Evidently, a lot of effort goes into composing a tune of such complexity. Only after deconstructing a song will you discover the layers that have been merged to form an extraordinary product. Further, a lot of effort goes into making the music video, with the insanely vivid colors and razzmatazz. The true value of art always lies within its tiniest components because they form the big picture.

WE’RE NOT JUST FRIENDS

Artist: Parks, Squares and Alleys

Genre: Dream-pop

Notable lyrics: 

We don’t need nothing, except each other

But there’s no reason to say it out loud

The moon is there for you tonight

I feel the beating of your heart

You should forget it for a while,

We’re not just friends I know you want me to stop the time.

Yes, most of us have been here, feeling the same about a friend. It’s almost inevitable, I presume. But here underlies a certain beauty, almost too incoherent to be expressed in words. For now, I’ll let it be.

This particular song is a very lucky find, a result of an adventurous YouTube spree. The music is so surreal, the guitar strokes capable of inducing a psychedelic effect on you and the voice equally delightful. It’s almost too complex, to comprehend the musical structure of the sound. Per se,  it’s hard to believe that something like this tune is hand-made and not mechanically fabricated. I’m not denying that editing is an essential process while composing a song, but how does something as outlandish as this music just drop onto your head, out of nowhere? It’s hard, even for a pioneer in the music industry, to intricately produce such tasteful instrumentals. I can’t imagine how hard and meticulous it must’ve been, giving birth to an idea for something beyond the ordinary, with less or no professional help (The band isn’t well-known so professional help can be pretty expensive).

The lyrics are very unpretentious, unambiguous and mellow, thereby maintaining an easy balance within the song so as to not make it seem too ostentatious. A clever stitch in time saves 9, doesn’t it?

If this is what hipsters these days are listening to, I must appreciate their prudence.

Bonus video:

 

 

TOO MUCH

Artist: Pale

Genre: Indie

Notable lyrics:

Did you scream,

did you suffer,

does it help you do more;

We could be more,

don’t you run away,

we could be happier this way.

The video is a bit unsettling but the picture of that record induces such pleasure, I can’t really say what it is. The name of the band (I’m assuming?) and the color scheme is so well-coordinated, it’s almost aesthetically pleasant (that’s a proper use of the word, now).

‘Pale’ is so masked that even google can’t give me any more information about them. It’s just one of those really random songs you find on digging deep into the surreptitious part of YouTube. But from what I can say, they’ve got a great eye for making music and that’s pretty evident in their solo track ‘Too much’. If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in the middle of the ghastly nowhere, this songs presents to be very familiar and fairly reminiscing. ‘Too much’ represents the underlying pain and desperation when you’re willing to do what it takes to hold your beloved very still and settled. You don’t want them to leave so you try to convince yourself and them that you’re really happiest the way you are. You despairingly want them to break their walls down and open up to you, about their worldly sorrows and genuine happiness. Really a traumatic episode, if you think about it, but that’s love for you. No matter how accurate the phrase ‘you love them when you let them go’ seems to be, it’s hard to put it into practice.

The vocals aren’t the highlight of the song, contrary to the popular customs of music-making and neither are the lyrics. If anything, the song is minimalism at its finest. Simple lyrics, simple vocals and a simple tune with a simple, slightly unsettling music video. The vocals are indolent (in a good way) and a little resonant with the latent pain and that fits the entire framework of the song. You’re sure to find yourself listening to this ear catching tune inadvertently and every so often or at least that’s how I came to write about this song.

CAMEO LOVER

 Artist: Kimbra

Genre: Indie pop

Notable lyrics:

I’ve got high hopes baby, but all you do is take me
Down to depths that I never knew
You’ve got two arms baby, they’re all tangled in ladies
As the black skies posing blue
Let go of your mother and turn to your brother
Not a long gone lover’s noose

Kimbra? rings a bell? ‘isn’t she that chick from that weirdly amazing song with the body paint and everything?’ Yes, this is the same Kimbra of the ‘somebody that I used to know‘ fame. and yes, she’s covered with body paint in that album cover, again.

Kimbra with her Zooey Deschanel- pre fame Katy Perry realness, her decisively hollow but gratifying voice, bizarre haircut and quirky moves with equally quirky music videos writes this song to bring color into the life of her potential, indecisive lover who only keeps making appearances in her life because he’s so wrapped up in his own problems that he can’t even spell happiness, let alone return her affections. in an effort to pursue him, Kimbra offers to help him deal with his struggles and soothe his somewhat wounded soul. well, gotta love Kimbra.

The song is seemingly happy but it really isn’t all that merry. add a sad tune and you’ve got a depressing one-hit wonder. there’s something about Kimbra and her innate obsession with making the impossible look easy: creating happy sad songs. definitely is a complex challenge, that one is. The song simply revolves around a depressed individual (who everyone usually wants to offer comfort) or a ‘bad boy’ who manages to sweep Kimbra off her feet. being aware of his state, Kimbra, like every other good girl (I’m kidding, can’t be too sure about this) wants to woo him and make his world a better place by turning his skies blue and such specifics. on a journey to win his heart over by creating a colorful environment, she manages to capture all our attentions too! don’t believe me? read the YouTube comments below her music videos.

With one of the most different voices in the industry, Kimbra manages to employ it in a very appealing manner. most of her videos are sweet as candy, unnecessarily vivid and vibrant (I’m not complaining *heart eyes emoji*). Her endearing, feminine appearance makes her stand out among the rest of the “edgy” (basic is the word I intended to use) female pop singers. After all, nobody wants to go back to the 2010’s, do they? But Kimbra manages to pull it off so well, with her floppy raven hair and girly face. Also, how quirky are her dance moves? Gotta love Kimbra, again.